Interview by Derek Grosso
A family man with an entrepreneurial upbringing and a passion for education, Nevin Bansal leads Outreach Promotional Solutions as President & CEO, a company he founded in 2012. He grew up in Akron and moved to Columbus in 2005 by way of Cleveland (where he started out as a CPA) to pursue his MBA at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. At Outreach, Nevin works daily to drive business strategy, sales, financial management and operations. Like many business owners, he wears a number of hats! And in addition to running a marketing solutions company with a dozen employees and two offices (one in Columbus and another in Akron), he also juggles family life like a boss. He’s got twin 2-year-old daughters! Nevin is also quite plugged into the local startup scene and recently upgraded his Columbus offices with a colorful new space in the Brewery District.
Tell us more about your career path from Ohio State to where you are now:
While at OSU, I interned at Ford in Michigan. During my MBA experience, I received the Pace Setter Award, an award given to the top academic and leadership students at Fisher. Upon graduation, I joined Nationwide Insurance here in Columbus. I started in a Financial Leadership Program that allowed me to see many aspects of the company and gain C-level exposure. From there, I joined the Corporate Strategy department as a Senior Consultant, where I contributed to projects that influenced strategies for the Enterprise. My last role at Nationwide was as a Finance Director leading the financial management for the Chief Technology Officer.
What’s the story behind Outreach Promotional Solutions and why did you decide to launch the business?
My parents started a printing company when I was 8 years old. It was a business that I grew up around and got to know very well. As I was working in corporate, I got the itch to start my own business. In 2012, I saw an opportunity to build on what my family started and launch a business that not only helped companies grow, but also makes an impact in the community. The idea of working for myself and creating something for my family was very appealing to me. Our company has grown into a full-service marketing firm that helps organizations with their design, online presence, branding efforts and strategies for growth.
What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
My twin 2 year old girls get me up in the morning! Other than that, the idea that I can make an impact each day for our business gets me up in the morning. The energy of my team, clients and friends that I interact with makes the week fun, interesting and motivating. I feed off of the energy of others.
What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
Andrew Walker, President of Nationwide’s Bank was a mentor who helped me think about where I wanted to go in my career. One piece of advice I received in my career is to not be afraid to ask for something that you value. This advice has helped me be more confident and assertive in asking for raises in my corporate life, as well as asking for more business in my current life.
Explain some of your work-life balance challenges and how you achieve success in spite of the entrepreneurial hustle?
Like many business owners, I work at home in the evenings and weekends to drive the business forward. It can be challenging, especially since Outreach takes over a lot of my mind and interest as I continue to build the company. My twin 2-year old daughters help me maintain a semblance of work-life balance. Knowing that I get to spend time with my wife and kids helps me put my work away and enjoy time with them.
What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
I enjoy working out and playing basketball. Working out gives me more energy and improves my overall attitude, which helps me manage any stress that might come my way. I also spend time with close friends as well as watch sports. Finally, I travel with my family and friends several times a year to get away and relax.
What’s the coolest thing about Columbus right now?
The startup community is exciting. It feels like every day there is more momentum around new ideas, new companies and new ventures!
What is one thing that you think Columbus needs (or wish Columbus had)?
Another pro sports team. Hockey and soccer are great, but I’d love a football or basketball team! We need an attraction that people feel compelled to travel to Columbus for. Cleveland has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Canton has the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Columbus could develop something that is a unique attraction that drives tourism and excitement. As far as a wish, I’m not sure this is possible but more beaches!
Which organizations are you involved with around the community?
I am a member of the Small Business Council of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Alumni Board for the Fisher College of Business, as well as a contributor to the Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council. I am also active in Cleveland as a Board Member for the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the Council of Smaller Enterprises.
Tell us about a community issue or cause that you’re passionate about.
Education – I truly believe that the difference between success and failure in business and life is education. Knowledge is power and I continue to support and drive ideas around educating and mentoring students and other business owners.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
Innovative city with Midwest values. With the Smart City grant, new startups, a great population of young professionals and more investment in community development, Columbus is becoming one of the most innovative and exciting cities around. What makes Columbus even greater, is that the values of approachability, family and community are strong!